Is SA numb to sexual violence?

A year after the Anene Booysen attack, a psychologist asks whether SA has become numb to rape.

A year after the Anene Booysen attack, a psychologist asks whether SA has become numb to rape. Picture: AFP.

CAPE TOWN - A clinical psychologist believes South Africa has become numb to violent crime such as rape.

Police figures show that more than 66,000 rape incidents were reported in South Africa over the 2012/2013 financial year, which amounts to at least 144 rapes each day.

However, some experts believe the statistics are inaccurate as many survivors of sexual assault don't report these crimes.

Clinical psychologist Eddie Wolff explains some of the reasons why men rape.

"Firstly, men rape as an act of violence because they want to commit a violent act. Secondly, they want to demean or punish their victim."

This Sunday marks exactly one year since 17-year-old Bredasdorp teenager Anene Booysen was raped, mutilated at left for dead.

The tragedy sparked a national debate and highlighted the country's unacceptably high levels of violence against women and children.

Since then activists have tried to turn Booysen's brutal attack into a national talking point, to help reduce the alarming number of rapes in the country each year.

Since the 17-year-old's murder, there's been outrage over scores of child rapes in the country in the past 12 months.

Four-year-old Keabetswe Tshabalala was raped and killed in Katlehong, east of Johannesburg in September, by a man from the community.

In December four-year-old Jasmin Pretorius was raped and killed, allegedly by her uncle in Brakpan.

A six-week-old baby was raped in the Northern Cape in November, sparking calls for the death penalty to be introduced.

And these are just some of the thousands of reported cases.

Rape Wise's John Buswell says many people don't report attacks. He says according to his figures, there has been an increase in attacks in the past year.

"We've seen an 8 percent increase in drug rape cases and about 4 percent in child rapes."

But the Department of Justice says there has been an improvement in the number of convictions and sentences of rapists in the country.